Medvedev beats Sinner in straight sets for Miami Open title
By MARC BERMAN
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Daniil Medvedev won his fourth ATP title of the year Sunday, beating Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3 in the Miami Open to move to 6-0 in their career matchup.
Medvedev is now the most sizzling player on the men’s tour, winning 24 of his last 25 matches after the 1-hour, 34-minute triumph. His only loss has come against top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final.
He’s made five straight Finals and he compared this run to 2019 when he advanced to the championship round in six straight events.
“It’s kind of the same,’’ Medvedev said. “It’s the best start to a season I’ve ever had. It’s been amazing amount of (ATP points) won. I’m super happy.’’
Sinner ran out of magic, with his three-hour win late Friday night over Alcaraz in the semifinals - when he had mild cramping in the second set - taking a toll on the 21-year-old Italian.
Sinner was visited by an ATP trainer midway through the first set Sunday. During the changeover at 4-3, Sinner received a packet of salt that he dumped into a water bottle to drink.
“Woke up this morning not at my best - a little bit sick,” Sinner said during the post-match ceremony, acknowledging that the crowd was behind him. “Thanks for the support. You gave me a lot of energy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play at my best.’’ In the post-match press conference, Sinner said he didn’t “wake up in the best possible way’’ but didn’t specify the illness."
“We tried to go out on the court, trying to give it a try,’’ Sinner said. “Unfortunately today wasn’t my day but I don’t want to take nothing away from Daniil. He was serving incredible. He was very brave with the way he played. He’s one of the best players in the world. ‘’
Sinner said he the trainer’s salt didn’t make a huge difference. “It helped me a little bit but not enough,’’ Sinner said. “When you wake up like this, there’s not magical things.’’
Serving 5-6 in the first set, Sinner didn’t have any dazzle left and played a ragged game as Medvedev broke him to close out the first set. At 15-30, Sinner shanked a backhand that went long, then fired a forehand bullet into the top of the net to end the one-hour first set.
Sinner said he may have had “a little bit’’ of a mental letdown off the Alcaraz win but noted he was also facing an opponent he had never beaten.
“I was very looking forward to it and prepared for a lot,’’ Sinner said. “It was a very good win. But I was focused on Daniil because I’ve never won.’’
While Medvedev has won titles this year in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, this is the Russian’s first title on American soil since the 2021 U.S. Open, when he derailed Novak Djokovic’s bid for a Grand Slam.
Before a crowd that included a handful of celebrities, including Jon Bon Jovi, Medvedev won the first 12 points on his serve. The Russian won his first two service games at love and got up 30-0 in his third one before Sinner started to feel his way back into the match to post the match’s first break. Sinner rallied to break Medvedev, needing five break points to pull it off.
Medvedev showed his mettle by breaking Sinner right back to even the first set at 3-3. On break point, Medvedev won a 20-stroke rally as Sinner’s forehand clipped the netcord and bounced in the doubles alley.
Then Medvedev broke Sinner at 6-5 and twice broke Sinner’s serve in the second set. According to Tennis Channel’s stats, Sinner made 36 unforced errors.
When asked why he gives Sinner the most trouble on the tour, Medvedev said, “Somehow my shots don’t let him completely expose his game, which is hitting winners all over the place. Somehow my balls don’ let him do that.’’
Medvedev has proven to be the master of the hardcourt but the tour turns to the European claycourt season. “I love the hardcourts. If it would be my choice, it would be only hardcourts. Wish all the tournaments were hardcourt.’’
At the ceremony, Sinner congratulated Medvedev, then quipped, “Now the clay starts; let’s see how you do there.’’
In a glamour women’s double finals, Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula beat Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend, 7-6, 6-2. ---
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated April 2, 2023